Toronto (46-28-8) at Boston (49-24-9)
When: Thursday, April 11th, 2019
Where: TD Garden,
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports
Opening Odds: Boston -144/6
Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans have been starving for a Stanley Cup for a long time and every time it seems they have a team that can contend, the Boston Bruins get in their way. Toronto will try and solve the Bruins in this year’s playoff series that begins with Game 1 Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston. The Leafs had a three-goal, third period lead in Game 7 five years ago against Boston, but blew it, then lost in another seven games last Spring. The key for Toronto this time around is to get star Auston Mathews going after scoring just twice in last year’s series. The Bruins passed the Leafs in the standings with a monumental run from late January to early March in which they recorded a 19-game point streak, going 15-0-4 in that stretch. Boston took three of four in the season series, but the most recent one was back on January 12th, before the Bruins went on their incredible run.
Toronto was committed in the offseason to getting a player that could help the team to the next level, and that was John Tavares. The former New York Islander posted career-best totals in goals (47) and points (88), but had just three points in the season series against Boston. While Matthews needs a better series than last year’s matchup, the same can be said for goalie Frederik Andersen, who recorded a 3.76 goals-against average and .896 save percentage in last year’s playoff series. Andersen allowed a season high-tying six goals on 28 shots in a 6-3 loss to Boston back in December.
The Bruins will go with Tuukka Rask in goal after he and Jaroslav Halak split time this season. Rask was part of the Bruins’ hot streak earlier this season and finished with a 2.48 GAA, while Halak was at 2.34 and five shutouts. Boston was led offensively by Brad Marchand, who recorded team-highs of 64 assists and 100 points and excelled on a line with David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. Pastrnak led the team with 38 goals as part of his 81 points, while Bergeron posted a career-high 79 points). That top line combined for 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in last year’s seven-game series versus the Maple Leafs. Marchand and Pastrnak also combined for six goals and 10 assists in the four games versus the Maple Leafs this season.
The Leafs have been looking forward to this rematch all season long and have the offense – now with Tavares – that can outscore any opponent. Andersen is key, but he too wants to make amends from last year’s debacle. I’m banking on Toronto getting a split in one of these first two road games.
Pick: Maple Leafs +130
Maple Leafs are 5-1 in their last 6 when their opponent allows 5 goals or more in their previous game.
Maple Leafs are 11-5 in their last 16 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Maple Leafs are 33-67 in their last 100 games as an underdog of +110 to +150.
Maple Leafs are 3-7 in their last 10 Conference Quarterfinals games.
Maple Leafs are 2-5 in their last 7 road games.
Maple Leafs are 2-5 in their last 7 vs. Atlantic.
Maple Leafs are 2-7 in their last 9 playoff games as an underdog.
Maple Leafs are 1-4 in their last 5 games as a road underdog.
Maple Leafs are 1-5 in their last 6 vs. a team with a winning record.
Maple Leafs are 1-5 in their last 6 overall.
Maple Leafs are 1-5 in their last 6 vs. Eastern Conference.
Maple Leafs are 0-4 in their last 4 games as an underdog.
Maple Leafs are 0-4 in their last 4 playoff games as an underdog of +110 to +150.
Bruins are 5-1 in their last 6 games as a favorite of -110 to -150.
Bruins are 4-1 in their last 5 Thursday games.
Bruins are 21-7 in their last 28 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Bruins are 9-3 in their last 12 games as a home favorite of -110 to -150.
Bruins are 51-20 in their last 71 home games.
Bruins are 20-8 in their last 28 overall.
Bruins are 48-20 in their last 68 games as a home favorite.
Bruins are 73-35 in their last 108 games as a favorite.
Bruins are 1-4 in their last 5 playoff games as a favorite.
Bruins are 0-4 in their last 4 vs. Atlantic.
Bruins are 0-5 in their last 5 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Maple Leafs are 1-6 in the last 7 meetings in Boston.
Maple Leafs are 1-4 in the last 5 meetings.
Over is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Home team is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.
Over is 4-0-2 in the last 6 meetings in Boston.